Approaching a loose dog in your neighborhood may seem like a good idea. After all, it’s very likely that the carefree puppy is a beloved family pet. You’ll want it to be safe and find its way home to its owner, so your instinct might be to call out to Fido and try to rescue him.
However, after many years working as New Haven dog bite lawyers, we recommend against taking such action. Here’s why . . . even dogs that are generally well-behaved may experience a certain amount of anxiety when running in the wild. They become unclear about who their “pack” is and what the “rules” are. Just like with people, anxiety can lead to unpredictable behavior. We don’t want to see you harmed.
Instead of approaching the pup, give these suggestions a try:
- Call the owner. Obviously, if you know the dog, give the owner a call. Let the family know that Fido is lost so they can retrieve him.
- Use your voice. In an authoritative tone, tell the dog to “go home.” You might also want to remember other common doggie language, such as “sit,” “stay,” “off,” or “down” in case you are forced to interact with the dog.
- Take a photo. These days, there are lots of neighborhood Facebook pages and vet bulletin boards. Upload a picture of the pup and his location.
- Call animal control. It might seem like a tough call to make, but if the dog doesn’t seem at home in its surroundings or is aggressive, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus, it’s one place that owners who are missing pets will check.
Just like you, we want family pets to be safe, sound and happy; but we don’t want you to risk a dog bite injury. So next time you see Fido galloping from one yard to the next, consider the suggestions above instead of approaching.